Sunday, June 1, 2008
Update: A Tale of Two Countries
Two weeks have passed since the previous post called attention to the contrast between the response to natural disasters in China an Burma. The situation in China continues to improve, even in the face of new threats posed by instant lakes created by massive landslides. The Government of Burma on the other hand continues to do all it can to slow aid and in a perverted way, seem to let nature take it's course in allowing only the fittest survive.
A post today, by Galrahn of Information Dissemination provides a graphic illustration of conditions in China. Be forewarned the images are graphic and disturbing, but part of the human experience, Observing the Incredible, Sobering Images of the Earthquake in China. I concur with his observation that the earthquake is a major perturbation that will affect China's domestic policy for the better. We are already see more transparency in information and the government response which will move the Chinese to improve their internal rule set for the benefit of their citizens.
Burma's resistance to help, has led Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to comment, Gates Accuses Myanmar of ‘Criminal Neglect’.
The past two weeks, have seen efforts by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon mildly successful in getting some aid into the affected areas of Burma. Watching his efforts, at diplomatic boot licking, just to open a trickle of aid, is a sad reality of dealing with failed states, where sovereignty trumps decency. Let cyclone aid in 'without hindrance': UN chief to Burma leaders.
Reliefweb.int has a link and pdf file with the latest contributions towards relief contributions in China http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/fts.nsf/doc105?OpenForm&rc=3&emid=EQ-2008-000062-CHN
The contributions to date for Burma, $147,772,066 and China, $187,808,221 seem to be out of sync, with the amount pledged to Burma close to the amount pledged to China. Perhaps a reflection of the needs of a country further down the resource chain from China. The unsettling thing is the question of how much of that $147 million will go to line the pockets of the ruling junta members?
As the photo above illustrates, the Junta receives huge revenues from the noted oil companies for exploration and recovery rights. Chevron Oil is a major contributor, $2,000,000 to relief efforts, is it good will, or an attempt to stay on the good side of the junta?
Chevron's voice, along with other contributors like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are silent on the lack of aid reaching the victims. Perhaps in the interest of getting aid in, they remain silent. One reverently hopes that after the crisis has eased, that they lend their voices to softly driving those junta members into exile, and allowing Burma to rejoin the world community.
The needs of people in China are still acute, so I am re-posting this link The Rush To Rescue. Comments by the likes of Sharon Stone, and the unsaid comments of others of her ilk, who see China's problem as payback for Tibet. And those in certain defense circles who long for old time state on state warfare, and see the quake as a weakening of a potential threat to their continued hegemony, should reap the scorn of those who hold their fellow mankind in higher esteem.